"Shonda. Scrambles. Brains."
This is your brain on Scandal. At least that’s what star Josh Malina teases of the ABC hit’s highly anticipated season finale on Thursday, which he assures us will answer many of fans’ burning questions.
But first, we need to address the giant, traitorous elephant in the room: David Rosen (Malina) played Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) & Associates and is working with the mole Billy Chambers (Welcome back, Matt Letscher!)
We chatted with Malina about his reaction to the twist that launched a thousand (curse-riddled) tweets, what fans can expect from the finale and why he always seems to be eating on the show!
You dirty little traitor! We can only imagine what your Twitter feed, which we love by the way, was like after the episode.
I love it! I’m reveling in it, I have to say. My favorite responses are utterly unprintable! [Laughs.] There’s something about the levels that people are brought to by Shonda Rhimes' writing that just makes me laugh.
We enjoy that you often point out fans’ spelling and grammar mistakes, so you’re educating while interacting.
[Laughs.] Exactly. I’m embracing my Inner Grammar Asshole.
The cast always live-tweets the episodes, but are you actually watching as you’re responding to fans?
I often do. My wife is out of the country, so [last episode] I was simultaneously making dinner and tweeting without watching; then I promised my son I’d play ping-pong with him, and so I was literally live-tweeting and playing ping-pong.
When did you find out that David would be working with Billy and what was your immediate reaction?
I found out literally at the table read, so a day before we started shooting it. I was certainly shocked. I wasn’t as shocked the rest of the cast that doesn’t start reading the script from the last page, because I literally sit down and the first thing I want to know is if I am still alive in the script. I found out immediately and I was major-league shocked and concerned that this was the wrap-up of my story. My initial reaction was shock and concern for the future of my family and myself.
Were you more surprised by your role in the twist or that Billy Chambers was the mole?
Well, the first surprise was during the opening of the table read, Matt Letscher walked in and there was this incredible, audible just like ‘Whaaaat!!’ and screaming and there was a little bit of running around the room. It was actually very funny because the moment he walked in the room, you were like, ‘OK, I see where this is going!’ I had that moment that I think a lot of viewers did, too, of, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?!’ We didn’t see him die, we didn’t see the head come off the body!
So if that was the reaction to the end of the penultimate episode, what was the reaction to the end of the finale?
I would say much is resolved. Shonda has a very, very sharp sense of sort of the equation of obsessively watchable television, so she knows that for every two answers you provide, she’s going to put up three more questions. There’s going to be a lot of that. A lot of questions that people are now obsessing over on Twitter are going to get answered and you’re also going to have some of those WTF moments, where you’re going, ‘What? Wait, what just happened?!’
Will we get to see the backstory behind David and Billy teaming up?
Yes, yes. Usually when there’s a flashback episode I’m not in it, and I’m like, ‘Shonda, does this man have no past? Is he just a creature of the present?’ We will get a little flashback-y information…it will explain David stepping into that limo.
Does David actually think he is doing the right thing? Can you tease his mindset in the finale?
We’ve seen him step into the limo of a guy that we know has done very terrible things, and I guess this is why people are tweeting all sorts of terrible things to me that may or may not be true. Maybe this does mean I was actually complicit in the murder of Wendy or other things that we’ve been ascribing to the mole. Maybe it doesn’t. I will also say, bear in mind, that anybody who has had a cup of coffee with Huck (Guillermo Diaz) has also hung out with somebody who has done very, very, very terrible things and we don’t immediately ascribe to them the stuff that’s being ascribed to me.
The finale’s title, “White Hat’s Back On,” sounds like something David might say.
I will say that that he is sort of involved in the equation of the title. He likes to talk about his white hat. We’ll find out whose hat and whose head it’s going to rest on. The title certainly encompasses his storyline in the finale.
Something fans have picked up on is the fact that David seems to always be eating at OPA. Is that you just adding it into the scene or are David’s Chinese food, cereal and donuts in the script?
[Laughs.] I am a glutton, personally. Whether the writers are writing to my gluttony, I’m not sure. I’m definitely enthusiastic when they’re like, ‘Bring on the Chinese food!’
Scandal’s finale airs Thursday at 10 p.m. on ABC.